What ought you do if someone you know is getting hurt, in their home or relationship? In my view, we are a community of humans. Whether the someone is a man or woman, a coworker or relative, etc., I personally feel that turning a blind eye is (usually) ethically indefensible. This part of the issue, however, you will need to decide for yourself. Some folks have many mistaken beliefs about domestic violence. That it only happens to women. That it only happens to the poor. That it only happens if drugs or alcohol are a problem. Etc. And most pernicious of all is the myth that victims of domestic violence are somehow to blame, that they ask for it or consent to it and are, therefore, different from the rest of us. Domestic violence is no more and no less a series of crimes such as assault and attempted murder by a perp who has a strong preference to attack the same victim over and over and to keep him or her controlled in a home setting. DV is not about "a bad relationship" and it is not a "social problem". It is a problem of crime, and law and order is the answer. ANY human adult can be ensnared in a DV relationship. Assemble 10 of the most powerful men and women you can think of ....say, US Senators. I assure you, one is NOW going home to a DV perp, and gets beaten and degraded regularly. High functioning DV victims are the rule, not the exception. Why don't they just leave? Because DV victims are stunned into a survival mode akin to a POW undergoing torture. Because the act of leaving escalates the DV threat levels, many times from assault to attempted murder or to murder. Because many/most DV perps not only threaten the victim, they also threaten the victim's children and other relatives, even coworkers. Every DV victim I have ever worked with has left ONLY after they formed a belief that their own death was imminent -- as in, he or she had bought a gun or an enormous life insurance policy on them -- or he or she had begun hitting the kids as well. The denial they experience, the brainwashing, is extraordinary and most DV victims cannot find their way out alone. So, the guy in the cubicle next to yours at work has a black eye...again. And yet another lame-ass story about walking into a door. He's been showing up with bruises, bald spots where hair has been pulled out, broken bones, etc. regularly since you started work with him last Spring. What should you do? Asking him "Is someone hurting you?' is usually not effective. For starters, the DV victim rarely characterizes what is happening to them as "hitting". The DV perp doubtless has a whole line of patter on how the victim "makes them do this", etc. So a less direct question is usually better. Something like "Gee, Bill, that's the third time this month you've been injured. Have you always been so uncoordinated?" You aren't challenging his truthfulness -- what you are trying to do is challenge his denial. You cannot help a DV victim with seamless denial. Until they themselves begin to question the treatment they are receiving, you do not have their consent and unless you perceive imminent risk of harm, you cannot usurp their right to live their lives as they wish. But the good news is, any crack in the brainwashing wall usually begins a rapid process that disassembles denial. Fast forward. Bill admits he is getting hurt in his home. Wants your help to leave. How do you do this? ALL DV victims should leave home with a police escort to a battered spouse shelter/safe house -- no exceptions. This is NOT the time to indulge or accommodate as they whinge on about missing work or having to pay to board the dog. Either meet their fearful objections to going to a safe house or tell them -- anything beats being dead. BTW, most DV shelters/safe houses are clean, well-appointed and staffed with extraordinarially kind people. I know the word "shelter" conjures up images of homeless shelters...but that is not at all the case. These places are more akin to expensive rehab centers with secret locales. The extraction point is BY FAR the single greatest point of risk and until the DV perp has been arrested or there are other indicia of safety, DO NOT offer to take them in as temporary roommmates. All that does is assign YOU the same risk level as the DV victim. People who've been through DV need help and support to recover. It sometimes comes from victims' support groups. Many a DV victim has been restored to some health simply by testifying against the perp and watching that person go to prison. But in any event, you, the friend or coworker who stepped in to aid in ending the crime spree, will doubtless have these convos as well. Don't blame the victim. Don't suggest they need to be more careful in choosing people to date in the future. They have great judgment, as a rule -- but spotting a DV perp/sociopath on a first date is impossible. Don't refuse to listen as they slowly begin to find the words for the depravity and terror they have suffered. Ask the person you suspect may be getting hurt different questions. Did you feel as ease with the relationship at first? When did that begin to change? Did you friends and family like her/him? If not, did they say why? Did you see the same reason to complain about the person as they did? The DV victim has been brainwashed, as well as battered. The questioning should be done with kindness and compassion...but it is NOT kind to aid a DV victim in maintaining denial. "It's okay, he or she didn't mean it. Everyone fights sometimes." I hope this thread stimulates discussion on the matter, not a debate on such things as the unnecessary filings of temporary restraining order petitions. I do agree, there can be a false cry for help for a person posing as a DV victim, but before we get into that, I'd like to deal first with aiding in an effective manner the DV victims you may encounter. Because you certainly will, folks. These crimes are so common we all know someone who has been through it, and most of us know someone going through it today. One last word: in my view, when DV occurs in a home with minor children, that all by itself is a horrific form of child abuse. If you would not turn your back on a neighbor boiling his baby in oil, then don't ignore the terror and suffering of kidlets in homes where DV is occurring. Very often, the kidlets are also assaulted -- and even if not, they are undergoing extreme emotional abuse. I've been a lawyer since 1989. I spent my career (paid) mainly prosecuting -- civilly, not criminally -- those who commit financial crimes. But like any lawyer is supposed to do, I did free work (pro bono) -- almost all of it for adults and children in abusive homes. Prior to the passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, there were virtually no battered spouse shelters. Police frequently refused to arrest, or if they did, DAs refused to prosecute. There was no crime of rape between a spouse and a spouse. Etc. And things did not get better overnight -- it took a lot of work to change attitudes and hearts. And though they were not my clients, I was still horrified when criminals/spouses hunted down their victims and killed them, especially when they killed them at work. When a DV criminal chooses a setting like that to commit murder, it's fair to assume he or she wanted to kill coworkers as well. I recommend this book and this author's security company website all the time: The Gift Of Fear, by Gavin De Becker https://www.gavindebecker.com/ Gavin De Becker & Associates may be the premier security consulting firm in the US, and serves the needs of high profile clients such as Madonna. But De Becker "got into" security work because he grew up in an abusive home and as a child, he honed his survival instincts to a razor's edge. DV victims can be effectively aided. They do recover and they can lead happy lives afterwards. All my pro bono clients and their children have....and that's now over 20 years' worth of them. I can no longer endure the stress of handling a DV case myself. I did not write this to whip up unpaid business (?) for myself. There's a 800 number to call for the National Domestic Violence Hotline to find a shelter near you: 1-(800)-799-7233. For the hearing impaired, the TDD number is 1-800-787-3224. Thank God there are adequate DV centers in most communities in the US now. That is not the case in every nation on Earth, and we who live here are most fortunate. P.S. If you or someone you know ever needs it, most DV Centers also run a safe exchange program for the folks who fear violence at the time they are dropping off or picking up their minor kidlets for custody or visitation. Some centers also provide supervised visitation, which might be judically ordered more often if more such facilities existed. P.P.S. It is almost never productive to seek a restraining order for a DV victim who refuses to enter a shelter. A TRO is a piece of paper, and if the DV perp were inclined to follow the orders and strictures of the law, chances are this would not be happening. It is best to extract the victim and THEN get the restraining order after he or she is in a safe place. And yes, some women commit DV. If their victim is a man, it may take greater stealth, emotional abuse or use of a weapon, but men also get abused. Please try to refrain from shaming anyone you might encounter who has DV in their past or present. Shame can kill.